Why does anyone bother to post questions here?

Miner

TS Contributor
#3
I agree with many of the comments on that thread, but sometimes its just a simple matter of the thread rolling out of sight then out of mind. The OP might need to bump the thread to make it visible again. Another forum that I am active in has an Unanswered Thread search that pulls up any thread with a single post. Moderators use that to bump threads on a periodic basis.
 
#4
I agree with many of the comments on that thread, but sometimes its just a simple matter of the thread rolling out of sight then out of mind. The OP might need to bump the thread to make it visible again. Another forum that I am active in has an Unanswered Thread search that pulls up any thread with a single post. Moderators use that to bump threads on a periodic basis.
An unanswered thread aggregator sound like a good idea. We should talk to quark about this. Reading this helps too.
 

hlsmith

Omega Contributor
#5
I can relate, most of my posts don't get answered or I answer them myself. Specific code questions (e.g., SAS) I may take to other forums (SAS Communities). Its all about the complexity, esoteric nature, and who is online that day.
 

Dason

Ambassador to the humans
#6
There are also *a lot* of questions that either 1) have already been answered a million times before and nobody bothered to reply to them to say "hey uh... just do a basic search" or 2) weren't written well enough to grab the limited attention of those that are able to help.

I know lately I've only really responded to threads I've been interested in and have been well written. So sure a lot of threads are unanswered but part of that is on the question asker. I won't say that's always the case because there have been cases where somebody asks a good question and I might know the answer but don't have enough energy/time to write it up. Oh well.
 

Miner

TS Contributor
#7
I would add another reason that I didn't see listed in the other thread: The study design structure or treatment structure is not clear, and the response is dependent on that information.
 

bryangoodrich

Probably A Mammal
#8
The bottom line: people aren't providing enough information to answer their question or enough clarity for the question or objective to be understood, requiring anyone engaging the person to spend the first five comments to simply ask them to provide more information, to read the forum guidelines on how to pose a question, etc. It's such a waste
 

trinker

ggplot2orBust
#9
If you're referring to the logistic regression question you asked specifically realize...

  1. Not everyone uses this program so you've reduced the number who can answer already.
  2. Also it's essentially a yes/no opinion question:
    My question, how awful is it to convert 0's and 1's to continuous variable (probability) using logistic regression, then use that for parametric statistics?
  3. Maybe you're asking the wrong question. Rather than asking how to approach you have a scheme that many may not be familiar with or may believe is fundamentally wrong.
  4. What have you tried? What have you read. This site is more about helping users to understand, to learn, not a answer dispenser
  5. You are too wordy, I'd say cut out non-essential info (is matlab really important?); pretend words are money. These are quantitative analysts because they dislike communicating through words (OK I overstated that a bit).

We have Forum Question Guidelines that may be of use to read for better responses.

These are some of my thoughts. I don't always get responses either but I assume it's because people don't know the answer or I'm not communicating my question well (including the title). I noticed each time yo re-asked the question (which is a no-no) you posted the exact same words. Even you recognized in the initial post that it was likely "too wordy", work on communicating questions effectively:



Other websites explicitly force many of these behaviors through various checks, we are more free here at talkstats. Other sites close questions, we don't do that here (unless you violate a policy; not for poor content). But please do take it upon yourself to adhere to Forum Question Guidelines. If you haven't gotten a response you can add a "Bump" to your thread after you've edited the original post to be more effective in communicating.

If you've done that and still no response you can safely assume the question's answer was not within the specific knowledge of the many other posters.
 
#10
Something against that "smart question" thread is that many responders prefer (at least at a subconscious level) to see a succinct question, and not a detailed one. That thread advises to elaborate and clarify and add many details. However, a detailed question usually bores and repels many readers.

On the other hand, detail is necessary.

So I needed to make a style, by mixing conciseness and details. This way:

1. Immediately ask your question, with a very condensed explanation of the problem.

2. Then add the details of the study to the fullest.

3. Use subheaders: using bold fonts etc, let the reader find necessary info, faster and easier.

This way, the reader will see if he is interested or not. If he was not, he will not be bored of reading to the end of a long post to see if the question is of interest or not. If he was interested, he then can put more time to find useful information in your long post.

Another way to receive a good answer is to put a "PLEASE HELP" or any of its variants in your question, and then say no more about your question in the question. GretaGarbo will definitely come to help you! :D (although this is true, don't take it seriously as it opposes the forum rules).
 

spunky

Smelly poop man with doo doo pants.
#11
what about the EVEN MORE threads where we ask for further clarification or examples to provide an answer and the OP never ever looks at it?

as the old saying says, help us help you
 

Karabiner

TS Contributor
#12
A very large number have no answers. What's the point?
Very nice example. You posted a question in an inappropriate sub-forum, you do not
provide context (why and what for do you need to know it?), a quantitative
statement ("very large number") is imprecise or maybe even wrong (do you actually
mean "number" or do you mean "proportion"? and how is "very large" defined
here?), the actual question ("what's the point") is vague (and without context).
So, a lot of work has to be done in order to just understand what you are after...
funnily, this time such a post wasn't just ignored, but started a lively discussion...
 

trinker

ggplot2orBust
#13
@Vict....I agree with everything you put with the exception of one bit...

victorxtc said:
advises to elaborate and clarify and add many details. However, a detailed question usually bores and repels many readers
I think details doesn't mean mean the same as words. Details means (to me) concepts relevant to the question. We want those. I think about communication in terms of Antoine de Saint-Exuery’s (1967) famous maxim:

“perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away...” (p. 42)
This works for writing, graphics, tables, etc. So I think I disagree slightly that implicit within your comment is that a detailed question isn't succinct. I think they can be. Your other avice helps to organize the details in a better, more easily read way.
 

Jake

Cookie Scientist
#14
I think the question you really need to ask yourself is: Why does anyone bother to answer questions here?

We, the forum regulars, are volunteer enthusiasts with busy professional and personal lives. We do this in our free time primarily because discussions about statistics are interesting to us. Much of the work we do here is literally thankless in that even when we do respond to questions, often we still never hear anything back from the person who asked it. Pretty much the only thing we get out of reading and responding to questions is that they raise statistical issues that we find interesting. If a cursory inspection of your question leads us to believe that it is decidedly uninteresting, then we will ignore it. We have to: there are simply too many, and we only have so much free time.

The sad fact is that many questions here are not worth our time to even look at closely, let alone answer, because they are clearly some combination of:
Poorly titled (e.g., "help with stats question");
Redundant (many have been exactly answered literally dozens of times in the past);
Poorly researched (a simple and obvious Google search will turn up the appropriate answer as a top result);
Too field-specific to be within our interest/expertise;
Obviously exercises that have been copied/pasted from homework assignments with little or no comment; or, my favorite,
Not even really questions at all so much as long descriptions of what a person did accompanied by remarks like "I'm not really sure if this makes sense."
 
#15
@Vict....I agree with everything you put with the exception of one bit...

I think details doesn't mean mean the same as words. Details means (to me) concepts relevant to the question. We want those. I think about communication in terms of Antoine de Saint-Exuery’s (1967) famous maxim:

This works for writing, graphics, tables, etc. So I think I disagree slightly that implicit within your comment is that a detailed question isn't succinct. I think they can be. Your other avice helps to organize the details in a better, more easily read way.
Trinker, what Antoine de Saint-Exuery (1967) has stated appears to be about the perfection, and not "succinct". If I have understood correctly these two slightly differ in nature: to be perfect, one can and must keep the necessary details, but to be succinct, one cannot keep anything except the gist. Therefore perhaps we might not be able to argue about succinct by bringing about the notion of perfection.

So I think I disagree slightly that implicit within your comment is that a detailed question isn't succinct.
Within the limitations of my English vocab knowledge, let me stick to my original implicit that a detailed post can't be succinct. It still can be perfect, but not succinct.

According to my dictionary

Succinct: "Briefly giving the gist of something"
Gist: "The choicest or most essential or most vital part of some idea or experience"

Detail: "A small part that can be considered separately from the whole"
Detailed: "Developed or executed with care and in minute detail"
Going into detail: "to explain something fully"

So "succinct" and "detailed" do not seem to me to go along very well.

--------------------------------------------

I was talking about succinct, as I believe what attracts a busy reader to finish reading a post is not the post being perfect, but is the closure of the question within a short time.

I see that if someone posts a very well organized question with an informative title, and full of relevant and important details and without any jargon (as you stated, a perfect question), he is less likely to receive an answer (to me, this is because fewer people dare to put a lot of time on reading the whole thing before knowing the question).

But if he posts a short question, with a vague title, and excluding many details, people get curious to know more about it and start communicating. They first ask the poster about details, and then, hooked enough, guide him. The best example is the very high rate of "HELP PLEASE" questions being answered, compared to the lower rate of detailed and perfect questions getting answered.
 
#16
I tried with a question on looking for significant cells in a contingency table and I was puzzled when the answer seemed to depend on the orientation of the table:

http://www.talkstats.com/showthread...lts-when-table-transposed?p=175715#post175715

I tried to do this:
1) Put in a significant amount of effort into solving your question first.
2) Be clear and detailed in what your question is.

But I may have said too much as nobody replied to the specific question. Anyway, at this stage I shall proceed on the basis that my most recent attempt must be right on the grounds that I have not seen anything wrong with it yet :)
 
#17
Something against that "smart question" thread is that many responders prefer (at least at a subconscious level) to see a succinct question, and not a detailed one. That thread advises to elaborate and clarify and add many details. However, a detailed question usually bores and repels many readers.

I think you're missing the point of that post. You won't see the word detailed anywhere in that post. It's actually designed to get rid of the irrelevant details users usually post (like adding "PLEASE HELP" and other nonsense), and highlight the necessary information needed. Concerning getting the attention of experts have you read point three of the guidelines? It states Use meaningful, SPECIFIC subject headers - as this is your golden opportunity to catch someones attention.

However, if your getting the impression that posts should be as detailed as possible from the guidelines post, then maybe more people are? Maybe I should add a part about being succinct in your posts? I guessed people would get that the general ideas is drop the irrelevant nonsense but maybe it needs to be stated explicitly for some? What do you think?
 
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#18
But if he posts a short question, with a vague title, and excluding many details, people get curious to know more about it and start communicating. They first ask the poster about details, and then, hooked enough, guide him. The best example is the very high rate of "HELP PLEASE" questions being answered, compared to the lower rate of detailed and perfect questions getting answered.
I tend to completely ignore vague titles, and when too little information is given I just use my quick stamp "Welcome to talkstats! Read the guidelines" response. It is very interesting to know however that vague titles are victorsx clickbait ;)
 

trinker

ggplot2orBust
#19
TE said:
However, if your getting the impression that post should be as detailed as possible from the guidelines post, then maybe more people are? Maybe I should add a part about being succinct in your posts? I guessed people would get that the general ideas is drop the irrelevant nonsense but may it needs to be stated explicitly for some? What do you think?
I think we need to think about this. This could definitely be clearer. I've referenced this thread many times and never thought about it being unclear but I was reading into it what I wanted it to say. We want the expectations to be clear for sure to avoid poster frustration.
 
#20
I think we need to think about this. This could definitely be clearer. I've referenced this thread many times and never thought about it being unclear but I was reading into it what I wanted it to say. We want the expectations to be clear for sure to avoid poster frustration.
The guidelines post was peer reviewed here, maybe we should dig up the peer review thread and reevaluate and revise. I'll be happy to update the current version with improvements.